Is Mark Sharpe in or out? We'll find out soon

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There's no reason in this space to speculate, since we'll have the answer in a few hours from this post.

FYI, this would be Sharpe's fourth attempt for the District 11 seat; he lost to Sam Gibbons in 1992 and 1994, and to Jim Davis in 1996.

Davis left the seat in 2006 to run for his unsuccessful bid for governor, opening up the relatively safe Democratic district for a newcomer. Five people competed for that bid (Al Fox, Mike Steinberg, Scott Farrell, Les Miller and Castor), with Castor besting Miller, 49 to 36 percent, and the others making up the balance of those votes.

Since then, Castor has coasted to two relatively simple re-election bids - in 2008 against Republican Eddie Adams Jr. and Mike Prendergast last November.

Like every congressional district in the nation, Florida's 11th will be redrawn in the coming year, presumably a bit more favorable for a Republican - probably by making the district more thoroughly Hillsborough and less of Pinellas and Manatee, as has been the case since the last time the district was redrawn, back in 2002.

Most folks in local politics that CL spoke with last week in preparation for an article that we're working on thought that Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe would announce on Monday that he's running for the GOP nomination for Congress in Florida's 11th District, in a match-up against Democratic incumbent Kathy Castor.

That's what CL certainly felt after meeting with the commissioner last Monday. But we didn't feel that way after speaking with Sharpe two days later, and a subsequent followup discussion to hear his latest thoughts at the end of the week never happened.

So what's he going to do?

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